A tree beside our house was struck by lightning the other day. It was scary. The entire house shook from the sound akin to a sonic boom, and a red-orange light filled every room, like a giant fireball hurled through the windows. We knew lightning had struck nearby, but we didn’t know where. It was raining too hard to go outside and look around, and everything in the house seemed okay, so we surmised perhaps it wasn’t as close as we thought.
That evening, we all sat down together to watch a holiday special on TV, and we had no TV… The Tivo was working. It told us what channel was on and what program we should be seeing on the screen, but all we saw was a message that there was no signal. We checked the other televisions in the house and found that we had no stations on any of them. Ken went outside with a flashlight and found that the antenna was still there, so he checked the booster in the garage where the signal comes into the house. The booster was not working.
The next day, Ken went out to get a closer look at the antenna, but it looked just fine. He noticed splintered branches on the ground at his feet, and when he turned around, he spotted the tree. The splintered pieces had been thrown thirty feet from the tree and landed in the yard right outside our living room. Thankfully, none hit the windows. The tree was split and splintered, and the ground was scorched, the roots exploded.
That booster might be the only electronic in our house not plugged into a surge protector. All of our laptops, televisions, and other devices are plugged into surge protectors, but that booster wasn’t. It had no line of defense in the event of a lightning strike. All it took was one bolt hitting a tree on the opposite side of the house, and the booster was gone. We were totally unprepared for that to happen.
Christmas is just around the corner. It’s the time of year when we celebrate the coming of our King, and we spend four weeks preparing ourselves for His arrival. Throughout Advent, which just began this past Sunday, we are to be preparing our homes, our families, our minds, and our souls for the coming of the Lord. Are you prepared?
“The Son of Man in His day will be like the lightening that flashes from one end of the sky to the other” (Luke 17:24).
It’s been a crazy year, and many have lots wages, lost jobs, lost loved ones, and even lost themselves. I don’t know about you, but there won’t be many Christmas presents under our tree this year. The money just isn’t there, and the desire to go to a store or spend even more time online is absolutely not there. Rather than focussing on tangible things, I’m hoping my family will focus on intangible blessings. My daughter, Rebecca, summed it up best on Thanksgiving when she said, “I know this year has been bad for a lot of people, but 2020 has been the best year of my life.” She pointed out that she had graduated from law school, gotten married, adopted a puppy, passed the bar exam, and had the gift of spending three months at home with her family for the first time in many years. She acknowledged that none of that was easy. Many things turned out differently than planned, and many changes and accommodations had to be put into place, but in the grand scheme of things, her year had been blessed.
I have a feeling that many of us can say the same thing. Yes, it’s been a difficult year, and it looks to be an even more difficult winter, but if you look really hard, I bet you can find many blessings.
The guys who helped us install the antenna and sold us the booster can’t get here until next week. Ken asked what we’re going to do to keep from being bored. I had to laugh, and you would, too, if you knew how little television my husband watches. But just the idea that we can’t watch television has him unnerved. I told him that I’m very rarely bored. There’s always something to work on, a book to read, and game to play (not to mention Prime and Netflix). But then I got to thinking beyond all of those things.
Maybe there’s a reason this happened when it did, the first Monday of Advent. Perhaps we needed this time without television – one less distraction from our Christmas preparations. Maybe we’re meant to spend this time preparing, thinking about what’s to come, and counting our blessings. To paraphrase the Grinch, maybe the lightning strike, perhaps…means a little bit more!
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).